Sir John Aird, 1st Bt

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Sir John Aird, 1st Bt

by Sir Leslie Ward
watercolour, published in Vanity Fair 20 June 1891
14 in. x 9 in. (356 mm x 229 mm)
Purchased, 1974
Primary Collection
NPG 5014

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Sir Leslie Ward (1851-1922), 'Spy'; caricaturist and portrait painter; son of Edward Matthew Ward. Artist or producer associated with 1617 portraits, Sitter in 9 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Drawn for Vanity Fair, 20 June 1891.

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Events of 1891back to top

Current affairs

The Irish Nationalist leader Charles Parnell is forced to resign after being named in the divorce proceedings brought by William O'Shea against his wife Kitty, who had been Parnell's mistress for a decade. The scandal severely damages the campaign for the Home Rule Bill, contributing greatly to its subsequent failure. Parnell's health also suffered; he contracted rheumatic fever and died a few months after resigning.

Art and science

Thomas Hardy's publishes Tess of the D'Urbervilles, a tragedy which explores the consequences of the young Tess's seduction by the wealthy Alec D'Urberville. In the novel, Hardy sets forward his major concerns about the individual's powerlessness before fate, whilst radically critiquing the hypocritical double standards of contemporary morals.

International

The construction of Trans-Siberian railway, the longest single rail system in Russia, begins in the Urals and at Vladivostock. Running between Moscow and Vladivostock, work was completed in 1917.
The German aviation pioneer Otto Lilenthal takes off in the first glider from a hill near Potsdam, the first of many guided flights and an important step in the development of aerial technology.

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